5. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy0

In the current Iran flap, I urge as strongly as I know how that we base our policy on saving Amini if possible.

Whatever his wild charges about lack of US aid (you have the facts from Talbot), he’s the only good PM Iran has had in the last several years and the only one anybody knows of who can carry Iran where we want it to go. If we return to more of the same in Iran, we’ll face chaos there all too soon. Any successor government will have the same problems, and lack even Amini’s capacity to deal with them.

My guess is that Amini had to turn to blaming the US—the traditional ME scapegoat, because he couldn’t publicly mention the real cause—the Shah’s refusal to back him in cutting the military and civil budget. Our aim should be to get Amini back in, with such backing from the Shah. Instead of Holmes’ policy of standing back and letting Iranians come to us, we ought to go tell them. Our intervention at this crucial moment, risky though it may be, could spell the difference between success and failure.

But I don’t think we should bail Amini out with more dough, at least not until after the budget is pared to the irreducible minimum. Instead we ought to tell Iranians that by using oil revenues and some deficit financing, Iran could cover its own budget gap.

My fear is that we won’t make an all-out effort unless you lay down the law.

R. W. Komer1
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert Komer. Secret. Komer forwarded this memorandum to Bundy on July 18 under cover of a note that reads: "Talbot has already called JFK with aid figures. We’ve given or pledged Amini $87.3 in grants and loans, in contrast to four year average of $59.4. He forgot to tell JFK that Amini’s reference to ’previous government’ (which probably irked President) was to Amini’s predecessor, not Eisenhower. At any rate, heart of matter is do we sit back and hope for best or try actively to salvage Amini. Spent force or no, he’s still our best bet. Hence the attached.” No indication has been found that the memorandum was forwarded to President Kennedy.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.